Good news: After a fierce public outcry, New Mexico will once again include evolution, global warming, and the age of the Earth in the state’s science standards.
Earlier this year, New Mexico’s Public Education Department unveiled a set of standards for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education that either deleted or significantly watered down any mention of evolution, global warming, or the age of the Earth.
Mother Jones reported on those proposed changes:
[T]he draft released by New Mexico’s education officials changes the language of a number of NGSS guidelines, downplaying the rise in global temperatures, striking references to human activity as the primary cause of climate change, and cutting one mention of evolution while weakening others. The standards would even remove a reference to the scientifically agreed-upon age of the Earth—nearly 4.6 billion years. (Young Earth creationists use various passages in the Bible to argue that the planet is only a few thousand years old.)
However, those proposed changes weakening the science standards while promoting young earth creationism were met with a large public outcry, including a public letter published as a full page ad in New Mexico papers from the Los Alamos National Laboratories scientists denouncing the proposed science standards.
Reporting on the overwhelming opposition to the proposed changes, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), noted:
… the New Mexico Science Teachers’ Association, the National Education Association — New Mexico, the LANL Foundation, the National Science Teachers Association, and the National Association of Biology Teachers have all expressed their opposition to the proposed standards, as have the state’s leading newspapers, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Las Cruces Sun-News, and the Albuquerque Journal, which memorably described them as “fly[ing] in the face of accepted science” and “breathtaking in their offensiveness.”
Acknowledging the changes in a statement issued Tuesday, Christopher Ruszkowski, New Mexico’s secretary of education, said:
Similar to the process in other states, our goal in holding a public hearing is to ensure all those who wanted to discuss these proposed standards would be heard. We have listened to the thoughtful input received and will incorporate many of the suggestions into the New Mexico Standards.
Bottom line: It is a sad commentary that in 2017 New Mexico’s Public Education Department would try to deny or water down the science concerning evolution, global warming, and the age of the Earth. However, the good news is that despite their nefarious efforts, they failed, and science prevailed.